Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting Started on a Spring Pole Lathe......Maybe

I've been wanting to build a spring pole lathe for a couple years now. I've never done any turning but I think it will really open up a whole lot of new possibilities for my woodworking.

I really liked Peter Follansbee's lathe when I saw it at Plimoth last summer so I decided I was going to base mine off that one, just not quite as long; shop space limitations and all. A few months ago I saw an add in the local on-line classifieds for some old beams from a barn that blew down. The price was right so I went and checked it out. Came away with plenty for a lathe. Well, I finally took the time to start dressing the beams today. 4x6 pine for the uprights and feet and poppets, 3x4 oak for the actual lathe bed.

I started today by cutting a piece of the 4x6 pine to a workable length and went at it with a cambered fore plane, another fore plane with the iron ground flat and a square. A whole lotta shavings later, I had a surfaced and squared on all four sides beam. Now for the maybe part of the blog tittle. As I was planing the weathered wood away to expose fresh pine, I also exposed some work of some wood borers of some sort. After I finished planing the beam, I cleaned out all the powdered wood with a screwdriver and air from a compressor. This in no way effects the integrity of the beams; they are way more than beefy enough. My only concern is wether whatever did the damage is still in there somewhere. I saw no evidence of anything living in there so I'm hoping they are long gone. Anyone know from the pictures what did this and what's the chance they're not done with the beams yet?

Probably try to plane another piece tonight and see what that one looks like. Once I get everything surfaced and squared up I'll start on some joinery. That'll be the easy part.

First side after cambered fore plane

The damage

Some more

Wood is solid underneath

Four squared. I like the look of it

Sure does make lots of wood stove starter

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turning Saw - A LONG Time Coming

Way back in December of '09 or '10, I received a Gramercy turning saw kit from my mother as a Christmas gift. This was on my wish list and the kit included the handles, pins, and 3 blades. Well, never let it be said that I jump into things too quickly; I just got around to building the saw this past week. I made the frame of quarter-sawn beech and used the Gramercy patterns as a basis for my arms and cross stretcher, with a few modifications. I tried to get a little lambs tongue look where the twine goes across rather than just the open crook the plans show. I'm really pleased with the way it came out but I'll admit, I'm a little scared to tighten the frame as much as it should be tightened. I'm worried I took out too much material at the top. I guess it's one of those things where you don't know if it's too tight until it's too late and you hear the dreaded snap? I tried the saw out in a piece of 3/4 pine and it functioned well, but there was quite a bit of flex in the blade. After it's hung on the wall a while, I suppose I'll get a little more brave and try to get the blade tighter and get some of the flex out of it. I do have more quarter-sawn beech if the unspeakable happens.

It does seem to be a very nice kit from Gramercy and it's a fun project to build and customize to the look that you want. I strung mine with three loops of 3 lb. twisted cotton twine by the way.

It's new home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tools For Working Wood - A Fine Company

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Joel and his crew at Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn for putting out a great product at a fair price and for going above and beyond in putting out little extras like these:

I just received the Modern Edge Tools booklet today and very cool retro-style mini catalog last year. These are catalogs I'll actually hold onto and not trash after a few months. (Although my wife would probably say I never throw anything away anyhow. Not true.)

Just wanted to not let Joel's good deeds/marketing go unheralded. Thanks Joel and staff!